Patients demand not to infuse a soap bubble of drug prices
On September 19, 2017, activists of the Network released 227 million soap bubbles into air near the building of the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal. It will be 227 million hryvnias that Ukraine will overpay this year if it purchases the branded drug “Aluvia” for HIV-positive patients.
Patients demanded that judges examine “evergreen” patents of HIV drug Lopinavir/Ritonavir. Monopoly for this drug has already existed in Ukraine for thirteen years.
According to opinion of the Network experts, the patents protecting this drug were issued with the violations of the law and their cancellation will allow other producers to enter the Ukrainian market. Therefore, Ukraine will be able to buy cheaper drugs and treat 125 000 more patients with HIV.
“The state budget spends almost half of its money for fighting AIDS to purchase only one monopoly drug “Aluvia” for $ 61 per pack,” emphasizes Serhiy Dmitriev, the Policy and Advocacy Director of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS
“It is important to understand that, as a matter of fact, the disputed patents do not protect anything new. The combination of Lopinavir/Ritonavir was invented in the 80’s of the twentieth century, and, accordingly, the drug is no longer an innovative one. In many countries the patent for the drug was either not issued at all or was cancelled long time ago. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has sent a special letter to the Ukrainian court to support the cancellation of the patent for “Aluvia”. And this is the first precedent in the history of Ukraine when such an influential international organization supports patients in judicial dispute,” said Serhiy Kondratiuk, the Expert on Intellectual Property and Access to Treatment.
After the action, the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeals heard this case under the chairmanship of the judge Serhiy Sotnikov. The judges again did not consider the merits of the case and, at the request of the AbbVie lawyers, postponed the hearings until October 4, 2017. This delays the solution of the issue over and over again at the time when the state and international donors are throwing hundreds of millions of hryvnias away.
While the judges are hesitating, the patients are waiting!